7 Fat-Busting Foods to Target Abdominal Fat
Abdominal fat is notoriously hard to shift and, irrespective of age, most of us would like to have a flatter stomach, particularly if we’re heading to the beach.
Changes in our diet mean that most of us are now consuming more fat than we did ten or twenty years ago. Even ‘healthy’ options can sometimes mask their true fat content. Choosing a salad over a burger for lunch might seem sensible but per 100g, some dressings can have as much as three times the amount of fat.
When it comes to losing weight there is no real secret; we should all be eating a low cholesterol diet rich in fruits and vegetables, low in saturated fat, sugar and simple carbohydrates.
The truth about fat
In most diet programs designed to help you lose weight, fat is often targeted as the number one offender. However, fat is a crucial element to a healthy diet and is essential to keep us fueled with energy. Any diet that completely removes fat could have an adverse effect on your health.
Having said this, too much fat can lead to obesity, high cholesterol and problems with our cardiovascular system.
Commonly, there are two types of fats; saturated (and trans) fats (the bad ones) and unsaturated fats (the good ones). Foods which are high in saturated fat, include:
- fatty meat
- processed meat such as pies and sausages
- butter and lard
- savoury snacks and chocolate
- pastries, biscuits and cakes
Trans fats can be found in both meat and dairy products, but also hydrogenated vegetable oil.
Unsaturated fats, especially those rich in omega-3, can be found in:
- oily fish
- sunflower and olive oil
- vegetables, such as avocados
- nuts and seeds
Though we should be eating less bad fat, it is not recommended to remove it from our diets completely. Current recommended daily intakes suggest we should be eating no more than 30g (men) and 20g (women) of saturated fat and 5g of trans fats per day. When it comes to unsaturated fats, on the whole we should be eating more of these cholesterol lowering, energy boosters.
So, in order to beat a bulging waistline, we should be eating a balanced diet, reducing our intake of bad fats and taking regular exercise. Here are seven super tricks to really target that abdominal fat.
Seven secret foods to beat abdominal fat
Broccoli is very low in calories and a versatile way to add essential fat-busting nutrients to your daily diet. Delicious in salads, pasta or as a steamed snack, broccoli can help improve your digestive function.
Broccoli contains calcium, fibre and vitamin C which, when combined, mean you absorb less fat. So, if you eat broccoli with a meal much of the fat will simply pass through your intestines.
Rich in phytonutrients, broccoli can also reduce your risk of developing diabetes, heart disease and some cancers.
It’s also a great boost to your immune system, meaning less time succumbing to coughs and colds and more time exercising that abdominal fat away!
Green tea has long been known to have some powerful and beneficial properties. It regulates blood sugar levels, assists in the absorption of calcium, fights harmful free radicals, lowers blood pressure and stimulates the body. Not only is it rich in the antioxidant catechin, but also contains B vitamins, folate, manganese, potassium and polyphenols.
Studies show that catechins activate and boost our thermogenic fat burning activity. Drunk with a meal, green tea increases the absorption of essential nutrients and keeps us hydrated. The combination of caffeine and catechins in green tea is what specifically readies our body to burn calories.
One of the best sources omega-3 fatty acids, Salmon is rich in essential amino acids, vitamins A, B6, C, D and E. It is a high quality source of protein and is rich in good cholesterol. Not only does it boost the nervous system but it also stimulates the metabolism and helps burn abdominal fat.
You should always source your salmon from reputable and sustainable farms as some wild salmon can contain dioxins or lead.
Oatmeal is high in fibre and protein and can help reduce cholesterol as well as cleanse the body. Full of slow-release carbohydrates, eating oatmeal for breakfast will stabilise your energy levels and leave you feeling full until lunchtime – so you won’t need a mid-morning snack!
A versatile food, oatmeal can be eaten as a cereal or can be added to many dishes and has also been said to increase the natural appetite suppressant hormones, oat beta glucan and peptide Y-Y.
An unsaturated fat, olive oil is a great source of nutrients and also lowers cholesterol. It is an excellent replacement for saturated fats such as butter and can also help maintain our body sugar levels. This means we feel more energised and fuller for longer – all helpful in the battle against abdominal fat.
The best source of olive oil is cold pressed or extra virgin. You should also not use the oil for cooking as heating this fat changes the composition and destroys some of its beneficial properties.
Particularly useful for vegans and vegetarians, almonds are an excellent source of protein providing your body with basic energy. Also high in fibre, calcium and omega-3, these nuts kick-start your metabolism meaning you burn abdominal fat more quickly. You can add them to a variety of dishes or enjoy them as a healthy snack. They are relatively calorific so should be consumed in moderation.
Strawberries contain anthocyanin and flavonoids both of which lessen the rate at which our body’s absorb fat and sugar. They are full of antioxidants which boost the immune system. In the fight against abdominal fat they boost the metabolism and suppress the appetite. Strawberries are a natural source of fibre and can be added to lots of dishes making them exceptionally versatile.